WikiLeaks supporters backing Julian Assange have rallied in Australia to show their solidarity after the first day of his extradition hearing and are calling for Australian prime minister Julia Gillard to step in.
Members of Brisbane Wikileaks Defence said that the group was calling on Gillard to show more support for Assange, who is an Australian citizen.
“The protest … will be important, both as a political challenge to the Gillard government which has failed to extend support to Assange and a morale boost to both Assange and Bradley Manning, the young US soldier jailed for releasing the US Embassy cables,” said one protestor.
Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over claims of sexual misconduct. Two women have alleged that Assange sexually assaulted them in August last year, claims that he denies.
Yesterday, the second day of Assange’s extradition hearing in London, lawyers for the WikiLeaks founder attacked Sweden’s attempts to extradite him from Britain, saying prosecutors had not followed correct procedure.
The Assange hearing will now reconvene on Friday when lawyers will make closing statements. A judge is expected to make a decision later in the month.
In Australia, Julian’s mother Christine Assange, says she will be holding a media conference outside the office of Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd on Friday, asking that he act on promises he had previously made regarding her son.
“I’m going to be asking him through the media to protect my son’s legal rights and his life and to make good on the promises he’s made to date regarding that.
“He’s made statements that Julian had done no wrong as far as he could see, legally, in the fact that hadn’t breached any US or Australian legislation, had not broken any laws,” Christine Assange told AAP.
Today, hundreds of WikiLeaks supporters were expected to attend a rally from 5.30pm (AEST) in King George Square, Brisbane.